[VIDEO] Why I Focus On Health Tech

Something I get asked all the time is why health tech? Why do I focus on healthcare technology, mobile health, and digital health?

The answer to that is deeply personal, as I talk about in the video above, and I want to explain it in a little more detail. 

I was born with congenital aortic stenosis, a heart defect that is one of the more common forms of congenital heart disease. For some, aortic stenosis is minor or moderate and just needs to be monitored for a while.

For me, mine was so severe that if my pediatrician had sent me home from the hospital as a tiny newborn, I wouldn't have survived past a few days old.

Instead, as he was checking me over before my parents took me home, he decided to run a few extra tests on my heart because he noticed something that could be concerning but didn't have to be.

What he discovered was that my little heart was struggling and wouldn't hold out for very long.

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The very next day, I had open heart surgery. My mom says she remembers the surgeon's hands being huge and she wondered how such big hands could save such a small heart.

But they did, and I am here today because of a proactive pediatrician, a superstar surgeon, all the staff at Children's Hospital in Colorado, medical advancement, and powerful technology.


Life as a kid with congenital heart disease was actually really normal for me. My parents made sure it was. While I still had followup visits every year, I did all the normal kid stuff, like ride bikes, climb trees, and play softball (terribly, I might add).

I did have two more open heart surgeries in high school, one at 15 and one at 16, both at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and I likely have at least one more on the horizon.

Yet, I was able to go to college, fall in love, build a successful business, and become a mom to two beautiful children. Life is a gift, one I never take for granted, because without medical technology and brilliant doctors, I would have missed out on all of this.

I want to make sure everyone has the same chances I've had

Growing up, my surgeons were my heroes. Before and after my surgeries at Mayo, I walked the halls and felt the place was magical. Weird as it sounds, I've always liked hospitals. I don't see them as places where people go to be sick and die but as places where people go to live.

As a kid, I wanted to save lives of kids like me, just like my doctors did. If you asked me back then what I wanted to be, I would have told you a pediatric cardiologist.

That is until I took biology and chemistry and physics in high school. Turns out, science wasn't my thing.

English and writing and creativity were, however, but I didn't see how those skills could help me save lives. When I majored in English in college, I was always just a tad disappointed that I wasn't going to become a doctor. 

It took a lot of years before I realized that my unique skill set could actually help people like me.

You see, every day, brilliant people (who were better at science than I was in high school and could handle dissecting a frog) are building powerful technology that's going to change the face of medicine and save lives around the globe.

They have the skill set to build that technology. What they don't always have is the skill set to get their message out. But I do. 

When we each use our unique gifts to do what we're good at, we can change the world. I'm using my gifts to drive the messages and missions of health tech companies through the noise. Because they need me, just like I and so many others need them.

So that's why health tech. Because I'm out to save lives just like my surgeons and cardiologists saved mine.

What's your story? Why do you do what you do?


Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.


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